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Meade LS, are you using the auto alignment?

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#1 skyskan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:24 PM

Hi LS owners,

 

Are you guys using the auto alignment"?

I don't use it much - almost none.  Most of the time, I just use two star alignment.  To me, it is faster and more accurate.

 

One day when I tried in a really dark place, it could not even find the alignment start at all.  I thought something went wrong with the scope.  When I tested again back home, it worked without any problem.  It looked like it gets confused if there are too many stars.

 

Also, the auto alignment does not bring the star in the middle in my case.  For magnifying level anything above 150X, it is very far off the center.

 

It is too slow for me, I would just do two star alignment and be done with it.  If I would have to mange more than two scopes at the same time, maybe....  But I would have to come back to it and readjust the alignment anyway.

 

Sometimes I wonder why I got this scope. 

 

Am I doing something wrong? 

 

How's your experience as a LS user?


Edited by skyskan, 12 June 2019 - 12:24 PM.


#2 astro_1

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:49 PM

I had the Meade LS8 for awhile. Great optics I thought. The electronics/auto alignment functions were quirky. Sometimes it would be spot on. Then other times not so much, again quirky. And it doesn't like large metal objects near by.

 

You could try checking the camera focus.


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#3 skyskan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:01 PM

I had the Meade LS8 for awhile. Great optics I thought. The electronics/auto alignment functions were quirky. Sometimes it would be spot on. Then other times not so much, again quirky. And it doesn't like large metal objects near by.

 

You could try checking the camera focus.

I have the same feeling.  I like the OTA, but not so sure about that auto alignment.  I just do not need the functionality.... 

 

Is it possible to change the camera focus?  I did not know that.



#4 astro_1

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:49 PM

I have the same feeling.  I like the OTA, but not so sure about that auto alignment.  I just do not need the functionality.... 

 

Is it possible to change the camera focus?  I did not know that.

I am pretty sure but do not remember the details. sorry, wish I had more info. Although I think you can get access to the image/download one of the images. that way you could see if it is in focus. of course I do not remember the details of that either.



#5 astro_1

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:51 PM

I am pretty sure but do not remember the details. sorry, wish I had more info. Although I think you can get access to the image/download one of the images. that way you could see if it is in focus. of course I do not remember the details of that either.

I had originally got it for Outreach events, thinking the auto align feature and the portability would be nice to have. just set it up and let it do its thing, or not.



#6 skyskan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 04:48 PM

I had originally got it for Outreach events, thinking the auto align feature and the portability would be nice to have. just set it up and let it do its thing, or not.

Exactly the same reason!

I thought I would let it work on its own alignment while I work on other things, but I do a lot less of those programs than I thought and  I get extra help when I do.



#7 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 04:57 PM

Gday SkyScan

I gave up on autoaligning, but as to centring targets, there are 2 calibrations for the camera.

Calibration one is done in the factory, but isnt exact.

There is a secondary user calibration that gets done where the scope slews to a star

and you centre it in the EP. It then takes a piccy and stores the star position on the sensor

for later corrections.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#8 skyskan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:22 PM

Gday SkyScan

I gave up on autoaligning, but as to centring targets, there are 2 calibrations for the camera.

Calibration one is done in the factory, but isnt exact.

There is a secondary user calibration that gets done where the scope slews to a star

and you centre it in the EP. It then takes a piccy and stores the star position on the sensor

for later corrections.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

G'day!

 

Thanks for the info.

I guess I will have to read the manual.

 

I like the OTA.  Also I had a concern about being able to use 2" diagonal touching the bottom when pointing to zeith, but Meade' 2" sct diagonal kit takes care of that problem.

So, I guess I do not have too much issue with the scope. 

However, I really do not use or need the auto align function although I was pretty excited about it when I was placing my order.


Edited by skyskan, 12 June 2019 - 08:23 PM.


#9 kekh73

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 04:37 AM

Hello.

I dont use the auto alignment.

I tried it in the beginning, but it didnt work, so i am using the two star alignment instead.

And that works very good, so no reason for med to try the auto alignment again.

I didnt know either that you could focus the camera...

I guess i have to look a little bit more into this feature.

 

I am very glad for the telescope, and I think it delivers very good images.

 

Erland, Denmark


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#10 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 05:01 AM

Gday Erland

 

I didnt know either that you could focus the camera...

Yep, IIRC, it is no different to any other webcam, ie you focus by screwing the lense cell in/out, but you shouldnt need to refocus the camera, only calibrate it relative to the EP

If you truly do need to refocus, and if yours is like mine, the lense unit itself has an Oring between it and the main body to provide a bit of preload/sealing, so you just need to turn the lense carrier in its threads whilst watching the feed. Mine is varnished/loctited so not sure how easy it would be to get it moving

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 16 June 2019 - 05:04 AM.

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#11 REC

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 02:13 PM

I guess I didn't know there are multiple ways to align? I just turn mine on and it goes through it's gyrations and level and find north. Then it goes and find one star in the western area and then it swings over to the eastern area and finds another star. Then it's ready, so I guess it does use the two star method? If the second star is blocked by a house or tree ect, it will just go to the next star on the list. I use the scope in the same spot in my backyard and I think that makes the process faster?



#12 jgraham

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 11:37 AM

I recently bought a used LS8 and I love it! I tested the video with the LED monitor from my Revolution Imager 2 and decided to add the little 3.5" Meade monitor. So far I have used the auto alignment every time and it has performed flawlessly. I just set the scope outside, level the mount, and flip the switch, and check the time and date (I disabled the GPS to make sure that firmware v1.6a isn't effected by the GPS roll-over problem). While the mount does its thing I bring out the rest of my gear (eyepieces, table, and observing chair) and within a couple of minutes the scope is waiting patiently with Vega centered in the eyepiece. I have quite a few scopes, including at least one of each of the entire ETX line and I bought the LS8 mostly out of curiosity. It is very much like large, improved version of the ETX, or a re-packaged LX90. I find it perfect for an enjoyable evening of hopping around the sky with the Autostar and the Astronomer Inside. I turned the automatic narration off, but I like being able to play it on-demand. I'm going to replace the original red-dot finder with a 50mm RACI finder for star-hopping off-road.

 

Soooo, yeah, so far the auto-align works great! However, I know how to do a 2-star align if it ever gives me any trouble. Once aligned and the LS part has done its job and I put the dust cap back on the Eclips camera. I find the scope a joy to use for a relaxing evening of visual observing.

 

My baby...

 

Lightswitch 8 ACF (6-10-2019)-1.jpg

 


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#13 skyskan

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 12:00 PM

I recently bought a used LS8 and I love it! I tested the video with the LED monitor from my Revolution Imager 2 and decided to add the little 3.5" Meade monitor. So far I have used the auto alignment every time and it has performed flawlessly. I just set the scope outside, level the mount, and flip the switch, and check the time and date (I disabled the GPS to make sure that firmware v1.6a isn't effected by the GPS roll-over problem). While the mount does its thing I bring out the rest of my gear (eyepieces, table, and observing chair) and within a couple of minutes the scope is waiting patiently with Vega centered in the eyepiece. I have quite a few scopes, including at least one of each of the entire ETX line and I bought the LS8 mostly out of curiosity. It is very much like large, improved version of the ETX, or a re-packaged LX90. I find it perfect for an enjoyable evening of hopping around the sky with the Autostar and the Astronomer Inside. I turned the automatic narration off, but I like being able to play it on-demand. I'm going to replace the original red-dot finder with a 50mm RACI finder for star-hopping off-road.

 

Soooo, yeah, so far the auto-align works great! However, I know how to do a 2-star align if it ever gives me any trouble. Once aligned and the LS part has done its job and I put the dust cap back on the Eclips camera. I find the scope a joy to use for a relaxing evening of visual observing.

 

My baby...

 

attachicon.gif Lightswitch 8 ACF (6-10-2019)-1.jpg

Wow, nice story!

 

I guess mine will work better if I finish the camera adjustment.  I could not stand the low profile dovetail "holding plate" that came with.  I replaced it with "regular" dovetail holder.  After that, the red dot finder start giving me trouble.  It was tinted so I could not see dim stars. Also,  the red dot was too bright even at the lowest setting.  I ended up installing the Telrad.  I guess if the auto align works fine, it would not matter too much. 


Edited by skyskan, 18 June 2019 - 12:01 PM.


#14 gfamily

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 12:12 PM

Rather that pay £££ for the external screen, I bought a cheap 'Reversing Camera Monitor" from eBay, which works perfectly. As I already use an external power supply the only other thing I need was a power lead splitter.

Just like others, if the auto align works first time it's usually good, but it can be temperamental and a manual 2 star is often easier, particularly if you have a restricted sky view because of broken clouds or trees.

Edited by gfamily, 18 June 2019 - 12:14 PM.

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#15 jgraham

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 12:19 PM

The light pollution is so bad from my backyard that red dot finders, and even a Telrad, doesn't work well. One thing you might consider if your GoTo's are off is training the drives (they may call it calibrating the mount on the LS). This corrects for any backlash in the gear trains. (I have not done this on mine.) Another feature that I like about the Autostar III is the easier Synch function. This is a convenient way of updating the pointing accuracy as you slew around the sky. The expanded database is also very nice! I enjoy the Walk Through the Stars function under the Constellation menu. It is a great way to star-hop around a constellation and the multi-line display of the little monitor makes it easy to navigate.
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#16 EdIII

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 02:28 PM

Jgraham: that is a nice looking rig. Quick question about power cord wrap with that mount. Is it a problem?

 

Ed


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#17 skyskan

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 03:27 PM

Jgraham: that is a nice looking rig. Quick question about power cord wrap with that mount. Is it a problem?

 

Ed

I have a long cable and a short cable.  I purchased the long cable after the short one worrying about the cable wrapping around the mount, but it has never been a problem.  I only use the short one.  Unless you manually spin to one direction, it does not rotate to the same direction.  I think they intensionally designed the software that way.  


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#18 jgraham

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 03:35 PM

"Quick question about power cord wrap with that mount. Is it a problem?"

 

I was a little concerned about that once as the cord started to get wrapped around the tripod, then the mount slewed the long way around to my next target. I haven't found it in the menus yet, but I suspect that the cord-wrap function defaults to 'On' assuming that it can be turned on/off.

 

Soooo, cord wrap has not been a problem.

 

I suspect that the core innards of the LS is a repackaged LX90, it slews soooo nice! No rubber-banding! Yay!

 

Just for yucks I am tempted to make an adapter so that I can mount the LS on a standard field tripod. However, once I got used to it (and added a Meade Micro-focuser) I kinda like the original LS tripod. It makes the system so light that it is nothing to carry outside fully assembled and to put it away. That fits nicely into my observing mode for this scope; almost grab'n go.


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#19 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 03:45 PM

Gday John

I suspect that the core innards of the LS is a repackaged LX90,

Nope. The LS has a motor/gearbox/encoder unit that is similar to the LX200GPS

ie far more robust than the LX90s.

And also agree a small reversing camera screen works perfectly.

I use a 7" one

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

ETXLSRADrive.JPG
ETX-LS LCD MkII.JPG



#20 jgraham

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 05:18 PM

Coolness! That's even better. My LX200GPS is built like a tank. I was surprised at how light the LS is (which is a good thing).

Neat stuff.


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